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Scientific classification


Bonaparte, 1831
1 Families, 6 Genera, 22 Species

A grebe is a medium sized bird. They are in the family Podicipedidae. There are 22 species of grebe.

Genera and species[change | change source]

Description, color and shape[change | change source]

Most grebes are a medium or large size. Some grebes, such as the Little Grebe are smaller. All Grebes have large feet with lobed toes. This means that each toe is separate on the foot (the opposite of this is webbed feet which is seen in ducks and geese). Some grebes find it difficult to walk on land because their feet are so big. They are much better at swimming and diving in water.

Little Grebe or Dabchick Tachybaptus ruficollis - Breeding plumage in Hyderabad, India.

Grebes have narrow wings. Some grebes find it difficult to fly. There are two species of grebe that cannot fly at all. This means that if grebes are in danger, they will dive under water instead of flying away like other birds do.

Grebes can have long or short bills. If they eat insects in the water, they will have a short bills. If they eat crustaceans (for example, crabs) they will have a long, sharp bill.

Most grebes are brown, white and red/orange. They have many, waterproof feathers. This means they can easily float on water and dive into water without getting cold or wet. In spring and summer, grebes have orange crests on their heads. This is so they can attract a mate. Some grebes do a mating ritual. This is when they "dance" in the water.

Grebes make their nest from plants found in the water. The nests float on top of the water. Baby grebes can swim when they are born. They are usually brown and white and do not get their orange crests until they are adults.

Habitat[change | change source]

Grebes live in freshwater (lakes or rivers). Some species of grebe will go to saltwater (sea/ocean) when they are migrating. This is when birds fly to live in a different place in summer or winter. Grebes only migrate if they live in North America, Europe or Asia. Grebes in South America, Africa and Asia do not migrate. They are found in every continent on earth.